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Letter of transmittal 4 

Introduction 5 

Climate (j 

The plantation site 7 

The soil 7 

Preparation of the soil 8 

Drainage 8 

Forming the plantation 9 

Selection of varieties 10 

Planting 11 

Cultivation 13 

Pruning .^ 13 

Harvest 16 

Enemies and diseases 18 

Manuring 19 

Supplemental notes , 21 

New varieties - 21 

Residence ^ 21 

Cost of a cacao plantation 22 




Sir: I submit herewith an essay on the cultivation of cacao, for the u^e 
of planters in the Philippines. This essay is prompted first, because much 
of the cacao grown here is of such excellent quality as to induce keen 
rivalry among buyers to procure it at an advance of quite 50 per cent over 
the common export grades of the Java bean, notwithstanding the failure 
on the part of the local grower to "process" or cure the product in any 
way; second, because in parts of Mindanao and Negros, despite ill treat- 
ment or no treatment, the plant exhibits a luxuriance of growth and 
wealth of productiveness that demonstrates its entire fitness for those 
regions and leads us to believe in the successful extension of its propaga- 
tion throughout these Islands; and lastly because of the repeated calls 
upon the Chief of the Agricultural Bureau for literature or information 
bearing upon this important horticultural industry. 

The importance of cacao-growing in the Philippines can hardly be over- 
estimated. Eecent statistics place the world^s demand for cacao (exclu- 
sive of local consumption) at 200,000,000 pounds, valued at more than 
$30,000,000 gold. 

There is little danger of overproduction and consequent low prices for 
very many years to come. So far as known, the areas where cacao pros- 
pers in the great equatorial zone are small, and the opening and develop- 
ment of suitable regions has altogether failed to keep pace with the 

The bibliography of cacao is rather limited, and some of the best publi- 
cations,^ being in French, are unavailable to many. The leading English 
treatise, by Professor Hart,^ admirable in many respects, deals mainly 
with conditions in Trinidad, West Indies, and is fatally defective, if not 
misleading, on the all-important question of pruning. 

The life history of the cacao, its botany, chemistry, and statistics are re- 
plete with interest, and will, perhaps, be treated in a future paper. 

Wm. S. Lyon, 
In Charge of Seed and Plant Introduction. 

Hon. F. Lamson-Scribner, 

Chief of the Insular Bureau of Agriculture. 

^ Le Cacaoyer, par Henri Jumelle. Culture de Cacaoyer dans Guadaloupe par 
Dr Paul Guerin. 
2 Cacao, by J. H. Hart, F. L. S. Trinidad. 

4 \ 




Cacao in cultivation exists nearly everywhere in the Archipelago. I 
have observed it in several provinces of Luzon, in Mindanao, Jolo, Basi- 
lan, Panay, and Negros, and have well-verified assurances of its presence 
in Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate, and it is altogether reasonable to predicate 
its existence upon all the larger islands anywhere under an elevation of 
1,000 or possibly 1,200 meters. Nevertheless, in many localities the condi- 
tion of the plants is such as not to justify the general extension of cacao 
cultivation into all regions. The presence of cacao in a given locality is 
an interesting fact, furnishing a useful guide for investigation and agri- 
cultural experimentation, but, as the purpose of this paper is to deal with 
cacao growing from a commercial standpoint, it is well to state that 
wherever reference is made t6 the growth, requirements, habits, or cul- 
tural treatment of the plant the commercial aspect is alone considered. 
As an illustration, attention is called to the statement made elsewhere, 
that "cacao exacts a minimum temperature of 18°"; although, as is per- 
fectly well known to the writer, its fruit has sometimes matured where 
the recorded temperatures have fallen as low as 10°. There is much to be 
learned here by experimentation, for as yet the cultivation is primitive in 
the extreme, pruning of any kind rudimentary or negative, and "treat- 
ment" of the nut altogether unknown. 

Elsewhere in cacao-producing countries its cultivation has long passed 
the experimental stage, and the practices that govern the management of 
a well-ordered cacao plantation are as clearly defined as those of an orange 
grove in Florida or a vineyard in California. 

In widely scattered localities the close observer will find many young 
trees that in vigor, color, and general health leave nothing to be desired, 
but before making final selection for a plantation he should inspect trees 
of larger growth for evidences of "die back" of the branches. If "die 
back" is present, superficial examinatio]i will generally determine if it is 
caused by neglect or by the attacks of insects. If not caused by neglect or 
insect attacks, he may assume that some primary essential to the con- 
tinued and successful cultivation of the tree is wanting and that the loca- 
tion is unsuited to profitable plantations. 

With due regard to these preliminary precautions and a close oversight 
of every subsequent operation, there is no reason why the growing of 
cacao may not ultimately become one of the most profitable horticultural 
enterprises that can engage the attention of planters in this Archipelago. 

farmers' bulletin. 


It is customary, when writing of any crop culture, to give precedence 
to site and soil, but in the case of cacao these considerations are of second- 
ary importance, and while none of the minor operations of planting, prun- 
ing, cultivation, and fertilizing may be overlooked, they are all outweighed 
by the single essential — climate. 

In general, a state of atmospheric saturation keeps pace with heavy 
rainfall, and for that reason we may successfully look for the highest rela- 
tive humidity upon the eastern shores of the Archipelago, where the rain- 
fall is more uniformly distributed over the whole year, than upon the 

There are places where the conditions are so peculiar as to challenge 
especial inquiry. We find on the peninsula of Zamboanga a recorded an- 
nual mean rainfall of only 888 mm., and yet cacao (unirrigated) exhibits 
exceptional thrift and vigor. It is true that this rain is so evenly distrib- 
uted throughout the year th? t every drop becomes available, yet the total 
rainfall is insufficient to account for the very evident and abundant atmo^^ - 
pheric humidity indicated by the prosperous conditions of the cacao plan- 
tations. The explanation of thi^ phenomenon, as made to me by the Ee^^ 
Father Algue, of the Observatory of Manila, is to the effect that strong 
equatorial ocean currents constantly prevail against southern Mindanao, 
and that their influence extend north nearly to the tenth degree of lati- 
tude. These currents, carrying their n.cisture-laden atmosphere, would 
naturally affect the whole of this narrow neck of land and influence as 
well some of the western coast of Mindanao, and probably place it upon 
the same favored hygrometric plane as the eastern coast, where the rain- 
fall in some localities amounts to 4 meters a year. 

While 2,000 mm. of mean annual rainfall equably distributed is ample 
to achieve complete success, it seems almost impossible to injure cacao by 
excessive piecipitation. It has been known to successfully tide over inun- 
dation of the whole stem up to the first branches for a period covering 
nearly a month. 

Irrigation must be resorted to in cases of deficient or unevenly distrib- 
uted rainfall, and irrigation is always advantageous whenever there is 
suspension of rain for a period of more than fifteen days. 

Concerning temperatures the best is that with an annual mean of 26° 
to 28°, with 20° as the mean minimum where any measure of success may 
be expected. A mean temperature of over 30° is prejudicial to cacao 

The last but not least important of the atmospheric phenomena for our 
consideration are the winds. Cacao loves to "steam and swelter in its own 
atmosphere" and high winds are inimical, and even refreshing breezes are 
incompatible, with the greatest success. As there are but few large areas \ 
in these Islands that are exempt from one or other of our prevailing " 
winds, the remedies that suggest themselves are : The selection of small 


sheltered valleys where the prevailing winds are directly cut off by inter- 
vening hills or mountains; the plantation of only small groves in the 
open, and their frequent intersection by the plantation of rapid growing 
trees; and, best of all, plantings made in forest clearings, where the re- 
maining forested lands will furnish the needed protection. 


It is always desirable to select a site that is approximately level or with 
only enough fall to assure easy drainage. Such sites may be planted sym- 
metrically and are susceptible to the easiest and most economical applica- 
tion of the many operations connected vvith a plantation. 

Provided the region is well forested and therefore protected from sea 
breezes, the plantation may be carried very near to the coast, provided the 
elevation is sufficient- to assure the grove immunity from incursions of 
tide water, which, however much diluted, will speedily cause the death of 
the plants. 

Excavations should be made during the dry season to determine that 
water does not stand within IJ meters of the surface, a more essential 
condition, however, when planting is made "at stake^' than when nursery 
reared trees are planted. 

Hillsides, when "not too precipitous, frequently offer admirable shelter 
and desirable soils, but their use entails n rather more complicated system 
of drainage, to carry away storm water without land washing, and for the 
ready conversion of the same into irrigating ditches during the dry season. 
Further, every operation involved must be performed by hand labor, and 
in the selection of such a site the planter must be largely influenced by the 
quantity and cost of available labor. 

The unexceptionable shelter, the humidity that prevails, and the inex- 
haustible supply of humus that is generally found in deep forest ravines 
frequently lead to their planting to cacao where the slope is even as great 
as 45°. Such plantations, if done upoji a considerable commercial scale, 
involve engineering problems and the careful terracing of each tree, and, 
except for a dearth of more suitable locations, is a practice that has little 
to commend it to the practical grower. 


Other things being equal, preference should be given to a not too tena- 
cious, clayey loam. Selection, in fact, may be quite successfully made 
through the process of exclusion, and by eliminating all soils of a very 
light and sandy nature, or clays so tenacious that the surface bakes and 
cracks while still too wet within 3 or 4 inches of the surface to operate 
with farm tools. These excluded, still leave a very wide range of silt, 
clay, and loam soils, most of which are suitable to cacao culture. 

Where properly protected from the wind a rocky soil, otherwise good, 
is not objectionable; in fact, such lands have the advantage of promoting 
good drainage. 

farmers' bulletin. 


When the plantation is made upon forest lands, it is necessary to cut 
and burn all underbrush, together with all timber trees other than those 
designed for shade. If such shade trees are left (and the advisability of 
leaving them will be discussed in the proper place), only those of the 
pulse or bean family are to be recommended. It should also be remem- 
bered that, owing in part to the close planting of cacao and in part to 
the fragility of its wood and its great susceptibility to damage resulting 
from wounds, subsequent removal of large shade trees from the planta- 
tion is attended with difficulty and expense, and the planter should leave 
few shade trees to the hectare. Clearing the land should be done during 
the dry season, and refuse burned in situ, thereby conserving to the soil 
the potash salts so essential to the continued well-being of cacao. 

The land should be deeply plowed, and, if possible, subsoiled as well, 
and then, pending the time of planting the orchard, it may be laid down 
to corn, cotton, beans, or some forage plant. Preference should be given 
to ^Tioed crops," as it is essential to keep the surface in open tilth, as well 
as to destroy all weeds. 

The common practice in most cacao-growing countries is to simply dig 
deep holes where the trees are to stand, and to give a light working to the 
rest of the surface just sufficient to produce the intermediate crops. This 
custom is permissible only on slopes too steep for the successful opera- 
tion of a side hill plow, or where from lack of draft animals all cultiva- 
tion has to be done by hand. 

Cacao roots deeply, and with relatively few superficial feeders, and the 
deeper the soil is worked the better. 


The number and size of the drains will depend upon the amount of 
rainfall, the contour of the land, and the natural absorbent character of 
the soil. In no case should the ditches be less than 1 meter wide and 60 
cm. deep, and if loose stones are at hand the sloping sides may be laid 
with them, which will materially protect them from washing by torrential 

These main drains should all be completed prior to planting. Connect- 
ing laterals may be opened subsequently, as the necessities of further 
drainage or future irrigation may demand ; shallow furrows will generally 
answer for these laterals, and as their obliteration will practically follow 
every time cultivation is given, their construction may be of the cheapest 
and most temporary nature. Owing to the necessity of main drainage 
canals and the needful interplanting of shade plants between the rows of 
cacao, nothing is gained by laying oif the land for planting in what is 
called "two ways," and all subsequent working of the orchard will conse- 
quently be in one direction. 



Cacao, relatively to the size of the tree, may be planted very closely. 
We have stated that it rejoices in a close, moistnre-laden atmosphere, and 
this permits of a closer planting than -would be admissible with any other 
orchard crop. 

In very rich soil the strong-growing Forastero variety may be planted 
3.7 meters apart each way, or 745 trees to the hectare, and on lighter 
lands this, or the more dwarf -growing forms of Criollo, may be set as 
close as 3 meters or rather more than 1,000 trees to the hectare. 

The rows should be very carefully lined out in one direction and staked 
where the young plants are to be set, and then (a year before the final 
planting) between each row of cacao a line of temporary shelter plants 
are to be planted. These should be planted in quincunx order, i. e., at the 
intersecting point of two lines drawn between the diagonal corners of the 
square made by four cacaos set equidistant each way. This temporary 
shelter is indispensable for the protection of the young plantation from 
wind and sun. 

The almost universal custom is to plant, for temporary shelter, suckers 
of fruiting bananas, but throughout the Visayas and in Southern Luzon 
I think abaca could be advantageously substituted. It is true that, as 
commonly grown, abaca does not make so rank a growth as some of the 
plantains, but if given the perfect tillage which the cacao plantation 
should receive, and moderately rich soils, abaca ought to furnish all nec- 
essary shade. This temporary shade may be maintained till the fourth or 
fifth year, when it is to be grubbed out and the stalks and stumps, which 
are rich in nitrogen, may be left to decay upon the ground. At present 
prices, the four or five crops which mjy be secured from the temporary 
shelter plants ought to meet the expenses of the entire plantation until it 
comes into bearing. 

In the next step, every fourth tree in the fourth or fifth row of cacao 
may be omitted and its place filled by a permanent shade tree. The plant- 
ing of shade trees or "madre de cacao" among the cacao has been observed 
from time immemorial in all countries where the crop is grown, and the 
primary purpose of the planting has been for shade alone. Observing that 
these trees were almost invariably of the pulse or legume family, the 
writer, in the year 1892, raised the question, in the Proceedings of the 
Southern California Horticultural Society, that the probable benefits de- 
rived were directly attributable to the abundant fertilizing microorgan- 
isms developed in the soil by these leguminous plants, rather than the 
mechancial protection they afforded fron^ the sun's rays. 

To Mr. 0. F. Cook, of the United States Department of Agriculture, 
however, belongs the credit of publishing, in 1901,' a resume of his in- 
quiries into the subject of the shades used for both the coffee and the 

1 ''Shade in Coffee Culture." U. S. Dept. Ag., Washington, 1901. 

10 farmers' bulletin. 

cacao, and which fully confirmed the previous opinions that the main 
benefit derived from these trees was their influence in maintaining a con- 
stant supply of available nitrogen in the soil. 

That cacao and its wild congenors naturally seek the shelter of well- 
shaded forests is well established; but having seen trees in these Islands^ 
that were fully exposed at all times showing no evidences of either scali, 
burn, or sun spot, and in every respect the embodiment of vigor and 
health, we are fully justified in assuming that here the climatic condi- 
tions are such as will permit of taking some reasonable liberties with this 
time-honored practice and supply needed nitrogen to the soil by the use of 
cheap and effective "catch crops,^^ such tis cowpeas or soy beans. 

Here, as elsewhere, an Erythrina, known as "dap-dap," is a favorite 
shade tree among native planters; the rain tree (Pithecolohium saman) 
is also occasionally used, and in one instance only have I seen a departure 
from the use of the Leguminosse, and that in western Mindanao, there is 
a shade plantation composed exclusively of Cananga odorata, locally 
known as ilang-ilang. 

While not yet prepared to advocate the total exclusion of all shade 
trees, I am prepared to recomm*»Tiii a shade tree, if shade trees there must 
be, whose utility and unquestioned value has singularly escaped notice. 
The tree in question, the Royal Ponciana (Poinciana regia), embodies 
all of the virtues that are ascribed to the best of the pulse family, is easily 
procured, grows freely and rapidly from seed or cutting, furnishes a mini- 
mum of shade at all times, and, in these Islands, becomes almost leafless 
at the season of maturity of the largest cacao crop when the greatest sun 
exposure is desired. 

The remaining preparatory work consists in the planting of intersect- 
ing wind breaks at intervals throughout the grove, and upon sides ex- 
posed to winds, or where a natural forest growth does not furnish such a 
shelter belt. Unless the plantation lies in a particularly protected valley, 
no plantation, however large in the aggregate, should cover more than 4 
or 5 hectares unbroken by at least one rc>w of wind-break trees. Nothing 
that I know of can approach the mango for this purpose. It will hold in 
check the fiercest gale and give assurance to the grower that after any 
storm his cacao crop is still on the trees and not on the ground, a prey to 
ants, mice, and other vermin. 


All the varieties of cacao in general cultivation may be referred to three 
general types, the Criollo, Forastero, and Calabacillo ; and of these, those 
that I have met in cultivation in the Archipelago are the first and second 
only. The Criollo is incomparably the finest variety in general use, and 
may perhaps be most readily distinguished by the inexperienced through 
the ripe but unfermented seed or almond, as it is often called. This, onV 
breaking, is found to be whitish or yellowish-white, while the seeds of ' 


those in which the Forastero or Calabacillo blood predominates are red- 
dish, or, in the ease of Forastero, almost violet in color. For flavor, free- 
dom from bitterness, facility in curing, and high commercial value, the 
Criollo is everywhere conceded to be facile princeps. 

On the other hand, in point of yield, vigor, freedom from disease, and 
compatibility to environment it is not to be compared with the others. 
Nevertheless, where such perfect conditions exist as are found in parts of 
Mindanao, I do not hesitate to urge the planting of Criollo. Elsewhere, 
or wherever the plantation is tentative or the conditions not very well 
known to the planter, the Forastero is to be recommended. The former 
is commercially known as '^Caracas'' and ''old red Ceylon,'^ and may be 
obtained from Ceylon dealers ; and the latter, the Forastero, or forms of 
it which have originated in the island, can be procured from Java. 

It seems not unlikely that the true Forastero may have been brought to 
these Islands from Acapulco, Mexico, two hundred and thirty-two years 
ago,^ as it was at that time the dominant kind grown in southeastern 
Mexico, and, if so, the place where the pure type would most likely be 
found in these Islands would be in the Camarinep, Southern Luzon. 
Aside from the seed characters already given, Forastero is recognized by 
its larger, thicker, more abundant, and rather more abruptly pointed 
fruit than Criollo, and its coarse leaves which are from 22 to 50 cm. long 
by 7 to 13 cm. wide, dimensions nearly double those reached by the Criollo 
or Calabacillo varieties. 


Planting may be done "at stake" or from the nursery. For the un- 
skilled or inexperienced planter, who has means at hand to defray the 
greater cost, planting "at stake" is perhaps to be recommended. This is 
no more than the dropping and lightly covering, during the rainy season, 
of three or four seeds at the stake where the plant is to stand, protecting 
the spot with a bit of banana leaf, left till the seeds have sprouted, and 
subsequently pulling out all but the one strongest and thriftiest plant. 

The contingencies to be met by this system are many. The enemies of 
the cacao seed are legion. Drought, birds, worms, ants, beetles, mice, and 
rats will all contribute their quota to prevent a good "stand" and entail 
the necessitly of repeated plantings. Success by planting "at stake" is so 
doubtful that it is rarely followed by experienced planters. 

The consequent alternative lies in rearing seedlings in seed beds that 
are under immediate control, and, wIkhi the plants are of sufficient size, 
in transplanting them to their proper siles in the orchard. In view of the 

* According to ''Historiade Fllipinas," by P. Fr. Gaspar de S. Augustin, cacao 
plants were first brought here in the year 1670 by a pilot named Pedro Brabo, of 
Laguna Province, who gave them to a priest of the Camarines named Bartoleme 

12 farmers' bulletin. 

remarkable short-lived vitality of the cacao seed, it is in every way advis- 
able that the untrained grower procure his plants from professional nurs- 
erymen, or, if this resource is lacking, that he import the young plants 
in Wardian cases from some of the many firms abroad who make a spe- 
cialty of preparing them for foreign markets. 

Both of these expedients failing, then it is advised that the seeds be 
sown one by one in small pots, or, if these are not procurable, in small 
bamboo tubes, and, for the sake of uniform moisture, plunge them to 
their rims in any free, light soil in a well-shaded easily protected spot 
where they may be carefully watered. In three to six months (according 
to growth) the tube with its included plant may be planted in the open 
field, when the former will speedily decompose and the growth of the 
cacao proceed without check or injury. 

At best, all of the above suggested methods are but crude expedients to 
replace the more workmanlike, expeditious, and satisfactory process of 
planting the conventional nursery grown stock. There is nothing more 
difiicult in the rearing of cacao seedlings than in growing any other ever- 
green fruit tree. Briefly stated, it is only the finding of a well-prepared, 
well-shaded seed bed and sowiiijcr tJie seeds in rows or drills, and, when the 
seedlings are of proper size, in lifting and transferring them to the plan- 
tation. But in actual practice there are many details calling for the exer- 
cise of trained judgment from the preparation of the seed bed down to the 
final process of 'hardening off," concerning which the reader is referred 
to the many available text-books on general nursery management. 

It may be said for the benefit of those unable to adopt more scientific 
methods : Let the seed bed be selected in a well-shaded spot, and, if possi- 
ble, upon a rather stiff, plastic, but well-drained soil. After this is well 
broken up and made smooth, broadcast over all 3 or 4 inches of well- 
decomposed leaf mold mixed with sand, and in this sow the seed in fur- 
rows about 1 inch deep. This sowing should be made during the dry 
season, not only to avoid the beating and washing of violent storms but to 
have the nursery plants of proper size for planting at the opening of the 
rainy season. The seed bed should be accessible to water, in order that it 
may be conveniently watered by frequent sprinklings throughout the dry 

The rich top dressing will stimulate the early growth of the seedling, 
and when its roots enter the heavier soil below it will encourage a stocky 
growth. Four or five months later the roots will be so well established 
in the stiffer soil that if lifted carefully each plant may be secured with a 
ball of earth about its roots, placed in a tray or basket, and in this way 
carried intact to the field. Plants thus reared give to the inexperienced 
an assurance of success not always obtained by the trained or veteran 
planter of bare rooted subjects. \ 



Planters are united in the opinion that pruning, cutting, or in any way 
lacerating the roots is injurious to the cacao, and in deference to this 
opinion all cultivation close to the tree should be done with a harrow- 
tooth cultivator, or shallow scarifier. All intermediate cultivation should 
be deep and thorough, whenever the mechanical condition of the soil will 
permit it. A plant stunted in youth will never make a prolific tree; early 
and continuous grawth can only be secured by deep and thorough cultiva- 

Of even more consideration than an occasional root cutting is any in- 
jury, however small, to the tree stem, and on this account every precau- 
tion should be taken to protect the trees from accidental injury when 
plowing or cultivating. The whiffletree of the plow or cultivator used 
should be carefully fendered with rubber or a soft woolen packing that 
will effectually guard against the carelessness of workmen. Wounds in 
the bark or stem offer an inviting field for the entry of insects or the 
spores of fungi, and are, furthermore, apt to be overlooked until the in- 
jury becomes deep seated and sometimes beyond repair. 

With the gradual extension of root development, cultivation will be re- 
duced to a narrow strip between the rows once occupied by the plantain 
or the abaca, but, to the very last, the maintenance of the proper soil con- 
ditions should be observed by at least one good annual plowing and by as 
many superficial cultivations as the growth of the trees and the mechan- 
ical state of the land will admit. 


When left to its own resources the cacao will fruit for an almost inde- 
finite time. When well and strenuously grown it will bear much more 
abundant fruit from its fifth to its twenty-fifth year, and by a simple 
process of renewal can be made productive for a much longer time. 

A necessary factor to this result is an annual pruning upon strictly 
scientific lines. The underlying principle involved is, primarily, the fact 
that the cacao bears its crop directly upon the main branches and trunk, 
and not upon spurs or twigs; secondly, that wood under three years is 
rarely fruitful, and that only upon stems or branches of five years or up- 
ward does the maximum f ruitf ulness occur ; that the seat of inflorescence 
is directly over the axil of a fallen leaf, from whence the flowers are born 
at irregular times throughout the year. 

With this necessary, fundamental information as a basis of operations, 
the rational system of pruning that suggests itself is the maintenance of 
as large an extension at all times of straight, well-grown mature wood and 
the perfecting of that by the early and frequent removal of all limbs or 
branches that the form of the tree does not admit of carrying without 

14 farmers' bulletin. 

It is desirable that this extension of the branch system should be lateral 
rather than vertical, for the greater facility with which fruit may be 
plucked and possible insect enemies fought: and on this account the 
leading growths should be stopped when a convenient height has been 

A\nien well grown and without accident to its leader, the cacao will 
naturally branch at from 1 to 1.4 meters from the ground. These pri- 
mary branches are mostly three to five in number, and all in excess of 
three should be removed as soon as selection can be made of three strong- 
est that are as nearly equidistant from each other as may be. When these 
branches are from 80 cm. to 1 meter long, and preferably the shorter dis- 
tance, they are to be stopped by pinching the extremities. This will cause 
them and the main stem as well to ^^Dreak,'' i. e., to branch in many places. 

At this point the vigilance and judgment of the planter are called into 
greater play. These secondary branches are, in turn, all to be reduced as 
were the primary ones, and their selection can not be made in a symmetri- 
cal whorl, for the habit of the tree does not admit of it, and selection of 
the three should be made with reference to their future extension, that the 
interior of the tree should Tiot be overcrowded and that such outer 
branches be retained as shall fairly maintain the equilibrium of the crown. 

This will complete the third year and the formative stage of the plant. 
Subsequent prunings will be conducted on the same liQes, with the modi- 
fication that when the secondary branches are again cut back, the room 
in the head of the tree will rarely admit of more than one, at most two, 
tertiary branches being allowed to remain. When these are grown to an 
extent that brings the total height of the tree to 3 or 4 meters, they should 
be cut back annually, at the close of the dry season. Such minor opera- 
tions as the removal of thin, wiry, or hide-bound growths and all suckers 
suggest themselves to ever}^ horticulturist, whether he be experienced in 
cacao growing or not. When a tree is exhausted by overbearing, or has 
originally been so ill formed that it is not productive, a strong sucker or 
"gourmand'^ springing from near the ground may be encouraged to grow. 
By distributing the pruning over two or three periods, in one year the old 
tree can be entirely removed and its place substituted by the "gourmand.'' 
During the third year flowers will be abundant and some fruit will set, 
but it is advisable to remove it while small and permit all of the energy 
of the plant to be expended in wood making. 

From what we know of its flowering habit, it is obvious that every oper- 
ation connected with the handling or pruning of a cacao, should be con- 
ducted with extreme care ; to see that the bark is never injured about the 
old leaf scars, for to just the extent it is so injured is the fruit-bearing 
area curtailed. Further, no pruning cut should ever be inflicted, except 
with the sharpest of knives and saws, and the use of shears, that alway^| 


bruise to some extent, is to be avoided. All the rules that are laid down 
for the guidance of the pruning of most orchard trees in regard to clean 
<3uts, sloping cuts, and the covering of large wounds with tar or resin 

Plate 1.— Shows the interesting, fruit bearing habit of the Cacao. 

apply with fourfold force to the cacao. Its wood is remarkably spongy 
and an easy prey to the enemies ever lying in wait to attack it, and the 
surest remedies for disease are preventive ones, and by the maintenance 

16 farmers' bulletin. 

of the bark of the tree at all times in the sound condition, we are assured 
that it is best qualified to resist invasion. Of the great number of worm- 
riddled trees to be seen in the Archipelago, it is easy in every case to trace 
the cause to the neglect and brutal treatment which left them in a condi- 
tion to invite the attacks of disease of every kind. 


The ripening period of cacao generally occurs at two seasons of the 
year, but in these islands the most abundant crop is obtained at about the 
commencement of the dry season, and the fruits continue to ripen for 
two months or longer. The time of its approaching maturity is easily 
recognized by the tyro by the unmistakable aroma of chocolate that per- 
vades the orchard at that period, and by some of the pods turning reddish 
or yellow according to the variety. 

The pods are attached by a very short stalk to the trunk of the tree, and 
those within reach of the hand are carefully cut with shears. Those 
higher up are most safely removed with an extension American tree 
pruner. A West Indian hook knife with a cutting edge above and below 
and mounted on a bamboo pole. If kept with the edges very sharp, does 
excellently well, but should only be intrusted to the most careful workmen. 
There is hardly a conceivable contingency to warrant the climbing of a 
cacao tree. If it should occur, the person climbing should go barefooted. 
As soon as the fruit, or so much of it as is well ripened, has been gathered, 
it is thrown into heaps and should be opened within twenty-four hours. 

The opening is done in a variety of ways, but the practice followed in 
Surinam would be an excellent one here if experienced labor was not at 
command. There, with a heavy knife or cutlass (bolo), they cut off the 
base or stem end of the fruit and thereby expose the column to which the 
seeds are attached, and then women and children, who free most of the 
seeds, are able to draw out the entire seed mass intact. It is exceedingly 
important that the seeds are not wounded, and for that reason it is inex- 
pedient to intrust the more expeditious method of halving the fruit with 
a sharp knife to any but experienced workmen. 

The process of curing that I have seen followed in these Islands is sim- 
plicity itself. Two jars half filled with water are provided for the clean- 
ers, and as the seeds are detached from the pulp they are sorted and 
graded on the spot. Only those of large, uniform size, well formed and 
thoroughly ripe, being thrown into one ; deformed, small, and imperfectly 
matured seeds going to the other. In these jars the seeds are allowed to 
stand in their own juice for a day, then they are taken out, washed in 
fresh water, dried in the sun from two to four days, according to the 
weather, and the process from the Filipino standpoint is complete. 

Much of the product thus obtained is singularly free from bitterness 
and of such excellent quality as to be salable at unusually high prices, 


and at the same time in such good demand that it is with some hesitancy 
that the process of fermentation is recommended for general use. 

But it is also equally certain that localities in these Islands will be 
planted to cacao where all the conditions that help to turn out an unri- 
valed natural product are by no means assured. For such places, where 
the rank-growing, more coarse-flavored, and bitter-fruited Forastero may 
produce exceptionally good crops, it will become incumbent on the planter 
to adopt some of the many methods of fermentation, whereby he can cor- 
rect the crudeness of the untreated bean and receive a remunerative price 
for the "processed^^ or ameliorated product. 

Undoubtedly the Strickland method, or some modification of it, is 
the best, and is now in general use on all considerable estates where the 
harvest is 200 piculs or upward per annum, and its use probably assures 
a more uniform product than any of the ruder processes in common use 
by small proprietors. 

But it must not be forgotten that the present planters in the Philip- 
pines are all small proprietors, and that until such time as the maturing 
of large plantations calls for the more elaborate apprratus of the Strick- 
land pattern, some practice whereby the inferior crude bean may be eco- 
nomically and quickly converted into a marketable product can not be 
avoided. As simple and efficacious as any is that largely pursued in some 
parts of Venezuela, where is produced the famous Caracas cacao. 

The beans and pulp are thrown into wooden vats that are pierced with 
holes sufficient to permit of the escape of the juice, for which twenty-four 
hours suffices. The vat is then exposed to the sun for five or six hours, 
and the beans, while still hot, are taken out, thrown into large heaps,. and 
covered with blankets. 

The next day they are returned to the box, subjected to a strong sun 
heat and again returned to the heap. This operation is repeated for sev- 
ral days, until the beans, by their bright chocolate color and suppleness, 
indicate that they are cured. If, during the period of fermentation, rain 
is threatened or occurs, the beans are shoveled, still hot, into bags and re- 
tained there until they can once more be exposed to the sun. Before the 
final bagging they are carefully hand rubbed in order to remove the ad- 
herent gums and fibrous matters that did not pass off in the primary 

In Ceylon, immediately after the beans have been fermented they are 
washed, and the universally high prices obtained by the Ceylon planters 
make it desirable to reproduce here a brief resume of their method. The 
fermentation is carried on under sheds, and the beans are heaped up in 
beds of 60 cm. to 1 meter in thickness apon a platform of parallel joists 
arranged to permit of the escape of the juices. This platform is elevated 
from the ground and the whole heap is covered with sacks or matting. 
The fermentation takes from five to seven days, according to the heat of 
2251 2 

18 farmers' bulletin. 


the atmosphere and the size of the heap, and whenever the temperature 
rises above 40° the mass is carefully turned over with wooden shovels. 

Immediately after the fermentation is completed the Ceylon planter 
passes the mass through repeated washings, and nothing remains but to 
dry the seed. This in Ceylon is very extensively done, in dryers of dif- 
ferent kinds, some patterned after the American fruit dryer, some in 
slowly rotating cylinders through the axis of which a powerful blast of 
hot air is driven. 

The process of washing unquestionably diminishes somewhat the 
weight of the cured bean; for that reason the practice is not generally 
followed in other countries, but in the case of the Ceylon product it is; 
one of the contributing factors to the high prices obtained. 


Monkeys, rats, and parrots are here and in all tropical countries th( 
subject of much complaint, and if the plantation is remote from towns oi 
in the forest, their depredations can only be held in check by the constant 
presence of well-armed hunter or watchman. Of the more serious ene- 
mies with which we have to -^ il, pernicious insects and in particular 
those that attack the wood of the tree, everything has yet to be learned. 

Mr. Charles N. Banks, an accomplished entomologist, now stationed at 
Maao, Occidental Negros, is making a close study of the life history of 
the insect enemies of cacao, and through his researches it is hoped that 
much light will be thrown upon the whole subject and that ways will be 
devised to overcome and prevent the depredations of these insect pests. 
The most formidable insect that has so far been encountered is a beetle, 
which pierces and deposits its eggs within the bark. When the worm 
hatches, it enters the wood and traverses it longitudinally until it is read}- 
to assume the mature or beetle state, when it comes to the surface and 
makes its escape. These worms will frequently riddle an entire branch 
and even enter the trunk. The apertures that the beetle makes for the 
laying of its eggs are so small — ^more minute than the head of a pin — 
that discovery and probing for the worm with a fine wire is not as fruit- 
ful of results as has been claimed. 

Of one thing, however, we are positively assured, i. e., that the epoch of 
ripening of the cacao fruit is the time when its powerful fragrance serves 
to attract the greatest number of these beetles and many other noxious 
insects to the grove. This, too, is the time when the most constant and 
abundant supply of labor is on the plantation and when vast numbers of 
these insects can be caught and destroyed. The building of small fires 
'at night in the groves, as commonly practiced here and in many tropical 
countries, is attended with some benefits. Lately, in India, this remedy 
has been subject to an improvement that gives promise of results which \^ 
will in time minimize the ravages of insect pests. It is in placing power- 
ful acetylene lights over broad, shallow vats of water overlaid with min- 


eral oil or petroleum. Some of these lamps now made under recent pat- 
ents yield a light of dazzling brilliancy, and if well distributed would 
doubtless lure millions of insects to their death. The cheap cost of the 
fuel also makes the remedy available for trial by every planter. 

There is a small hemipterous insect which stings the fruit when about 
two-thirds grown, and deposits its eggs within. For this class of insects 
M. A. Tonduz, who has issued publications on the diseases of cacao in 
Venezuela, recommends washing the fruit with salt water, and against 
the attacks of beetles in general by painting the tree stem and branches 
with Bordeaux mixture, or with the vassiliere insecticide, of which the 
basis is a combination of whale-oil soap and petroleum suspended in lime 
wash. There can be no possible virtue in the former, except as a pre- 
ventive against possible fungous diseases; of the sanitive value of the 
latter we can also afford to be skeptical, as the mechanical sealing of the 
borer's holes, and thereby cutting off the air supply, would only result 
in driving the worm sooner to the surface. The odor of petroleum and 
])articularly of whale-oil soap is so repellant, however, to most insects that 
its prophylactic virtues would undoubtedly be great. 

The Philippine Islands appear to be so far singulax'ly exempt from the 
very many cryptogamic or fungous diseases, blights, mildews, rusts, and 
cankers that have played havoc with cacao-growing in many countries. 
That we should enjoy continued immunity will depend greatly upon se- 
curing seeds or young plants only from noninfested districts or from 
reputable dealers, who will carefully disinfect any shipments, and to sup- 
plement this by a close microscopical examination upon arrival and the 
immediate burning of any suspected shipments. 

Another general precaution that will be taken by every planter who 
aims to maintain the best condition in his orchard is the gathering and 
burning of all prunings or trimmings from the orchard, whether they are 
diseased or not. Decaying wood of any kind is a field for special activity 
for insect life and fungous growth, and the sooner it is destroyed the 

On this account it is customary in some countries to remove the fruit 
pods from the field. But unless diseased, or unless they are to be re- 
turned after the harvest, they should be buried upon the land for their 
manurial value. 


There are few cultivated crops that make less drain upon soil fertility 
than cacao, and few drafts upon the land are so easily and inexpensively 
returned. From an examination made of detailed analyses by many au- 
thors and covering many regions, it may be broadly stated that an average 
crop of cacao in the most-favored districts is about 9 piculs per hectare, 
and that of the three all-important elements of nitrogen, phosphoric acid, 
and potash, a total of slightly more than 4.2 kilograms is removed in each 

20 farmers' bulletin. 

picul of cured seeds harvested. These 37 kilos of plant food that are an- 
ntialh^ taken from each hectare may be roughly subdivided as follows : 
18 kilos of nitrogen, 
10 kilos of potash, 
9 kilos of phosphoric acid. 

On this basis, after the plantation is in full bearing, we would have to 
make good with standard fertilizers each year for each hectare about '220 
kilos of nitrate of soda, or, if the plantation was shaded with leguminous 
trees, only one-half that amount, or 110 kilos. Of potash salts, say the 
sulphate, only one-half that amount, or 55 kilos, if the plantation was un- 
shaded. If, however, it was shaded, as the leguminous trees are all heavy 
feeders of potash, we would have to double the amount and use 110 kilos. 

In any case, as fixed nitrogen always represents a cost quite double that 
of potash, from an economical standpoint the planter is still the gainer 
who supplies potash to the shade trees. There still remains phosphoric 
acid, which, in the form of the best superphosphate of lime, would re- 
quire 55 kilos for unshaded orchards, and about 70 if dap-dap, Pionciana, 
or any leguminous tree was grown in the orchard. These three ingre- 
dients may be thoroughly incoriwrated and used as a top dressing and 
lightly harrowed in about each tree. 

If the commercial nitrates can not be readily obtained, then recourse 
must be had to the sparing use of farm manures. Until the bearing age 
these may be used freely, but after that with caution and discrimination. 
Although I have seen trees here that have been bearing continuously for 
twenty-two years, I have been unable to find so much as one that to the 
knowledge of the oldest resident has ever been fertilized in any way, yet, 
notwithstanding our lack of knowledge of local conditions, it seems per- 
fectly safe to predicate that liberal manuring with stable manure or 
highly ammoniated fertilizers would insure a rank, succulent growth 
that is always prejudicial to the best and heaviest fruit production. In 
this I am opposed to Professor Hart,^ who seems to think that stable ma- 
nures are those only that may be used with a free hand. 

We have many safe ways of applying nitrogen through the medium of] 
various catch crops of pulse or beans, with the certainty that we can never ^ 
overload the soil with more than the adjacent tree roots can take up and 
thoroughly assimilate. When the time comes that the orchard so shades 
the ground that crops can no longer be grown between the rows, then, in 
preference to stable manures I would recommend cotton-seed cake or 
"poonac,^^ the latter being always obtainable in this Archipelago. 

While the most desirable form in which potash can be applied is in the 
form of the sulphate, excellent results have been had with the use of 
Kainit or Stassfurth salts, and as a still more available substitute, wood 
ashes is suggested. When forest lands are near, the underbrush may be 

^ "Cacao," p. 16. 


cut and burned in a clearing or wherever it may be done without detri- 
ment to the standing timber, and the ashes scattered in the orchard before 
they have been leached by rains. The remaining essential of phosphoric 
acid in the form of superphosphates will for some years to come necessa- 
rily be the subject of direct importation. In the cheap form of phosphate 
slag it is reported to have been used with great success in both Grenada 
and British Guiana, and would be well worthy of trial here. 

Lands very rich in humus, as some of our forest valleys are, undoubt- 
edly carry ample nitrogenous elements of fertility to maintain the trees 
at a high standard of growth for many years, but provision is indispensa- 
ble for a regular supply of potash and phosphoric acid as soon as the 
trees come into heavy bearing. It is to them and not to the nitrogen that 
we look for the formation of strong, stocky, well-ripened wood capable 
of fruit bearing and for fruit that shall be sound, highly flavored, and 
well matured. 

The bearing life of such a tree will surely be healthfully prolonged for 
many years beyond one constantly driven with highly stimulating foods, 
and in the end amply repay the grower for the vigilance, toil, and original 
expenditure of money necessary to maintaining a well-grown and well- 
appointed cacao plantation. 


New Varieties. — Cacao is exclusively grown from seed, and it is only by 
careful selection of the most valuable trees that the planter can hope to 
make the most profitable renewals or additions to his plantations. It is 
by this means that many excellent sorts are now in cultivation in different 
regions that have continued to vary from the three original, common 
forms of Theohroma cacao, until now it is a matter of some difiiculty to 
differentiate them. 

Residence. — The conditions for living in the Philippines offer peculiar, 
it may be said unexampled, advantages to the planter of cacao. The cli- 
mate as a whole is remarkably salubrious, and sites are to be found nearly 
everywhere for the estate buildings, sufficiently elevated to obviate the 
necessity of living near stagnant waters. 

Malarial fevers are relatively few, predacious animals unknown, and 
insects and reptiles prejudicial to human life or health extraordinarily 
few in number. In contrast to this we need only call attention to the en- 
tire Caribbean coast of South America, where the climate and soil condi- 
tions are such that the cacao comes to a superlative degree of perfection, 
and yet the limits of its further extension have probably been reached by 
the insuperable barrier of a climate so insalubrious that the Caucasian's 
life is one endless conflict with disease, and when not engaged in active 
combat with some form of malarial poisoning his energies are concen- 
trated upon battle with the various insect or animal pests that make life 
a burden in such regions. ' 

22 farmers' bulletin. 

Nonresidence upon a cacao plantation is an equivalent term for ulti- 
mate failure. Every operation demands the exercise of the obervant eye 
and the directing hand of a master, but there is no field of horticultural 
effort that offers more assured reward, or that will more richly repay 
close study and the application of methods wrought out as the sequence 
of those studies. 


Estimates of expenses in establishing a cacao farm in the Visayas and 
profits after the fifth year. The size of the farm selected is 16 hectares, 
the amount of land prescribed by Congress of a single public land entry. 
The cost of procuring such a tract of land is as yet undetermined and can 
not be reckoned in the following tables. The prices of the crop are esti- 
mated at 48 cents per kilo, which is the current price for the best grades 
of cacao in the world's markets. The yield per tree is given as 2 catties, 
or 1.25 kilos, a fair and conservative estimate for a good tree, with little 
or no cultivation. The prices for unskilled labor are 25 per cent in ad- 
vance of the farm hand in the Visayan islands. No" provision is riiade for 
management or supervision, as the owner will, it is assumed, act as 

Charges to capital account are given for the second, third, and fourth 
year, but no current expenses are given, for other crops are to defray op- 
erating expenses until th^ cacao trees begin to bear. No estimate of resi- 
dence is given. All accounts are in United States currency. 

Expendable the first year. 
Capital account : 

Clearing of average brush and timber land, at $15 per 

hectare $340.00 

Four carabaos, plows, harrows, cultivators, carts, etc 550.00 

Breaking and preparing land, at $5 per hectare 80. 00 

Opening main drainage canals, at $6 per hectare 96. 00 

Tool house and storeroom 200. 00 

Purchase and planting 10,000 abacd stools, at 2 cents 

each 200.00 

Seed purchase, rearing and planting 12,000 cacao, at 3 

cents each 360.00 

Contingent and incidental 174.00 

Total $2,000.00 

Second year. 

Interest on investment $200. 00 

Depreciation on tools, buildings, and animals (20 per 

cent of cost) ^ 150.00 

850. 00 

Third year. \ ^ 

Interest on investment $200.00 'l^ 

Depreciation as above 150,00 



Fourth year. 
Capital account — Continued. 

Interest on investment 1 $200. 00 

Depreciation as above 150.00 

Building of drying house and sweat boxes, capacity 

20,000 kilos 450.00 

$800. 00 

Total capital investment 3,500.00 

Fiftfi year. 
Income account: 

From 11,680 cacao trees, 300 grams cacao each, equals 

3,500 kilos, at 48 cents 1,680.00 

Expense account: 

Fixed interest and depreciation charges on investment of 

$3,500.00 $350.00 

Taxes 1^, per cent on a one-third vakiation basis of $250 

per hectare 60. 00 

Cultivating, pruning, etc., at $5.50 per hectare . 88. 00 

Fertilizing, at $6 per hectare 96.00 

Harvesting, curing, packing 3,500 kilos cacao, at 10 cents 

perkilo 350.00 

Contingent 86.00 


Credit balance 650.00 

Sirth year. 
Income account: 

From 11,680 cacao trees, at 500 grams cacao each, equals 

5,840 kilos, at 48 cents 2, 803. 20 

Expense account: 

Fixed interest and depreciation charges as above $350. 00 

Taxes as above 60.00 

Cultivating, etc., as above 88.00 

Fertilizing, at $8 per hectare 128.00 

Harvesting, etc., 5,840 kilos cacao, at 10 cents per kilo_-- 584. 00 

Contingent 93.20 


Credit balance 1,500.00 

Seventh year. 

Income account: 

From 11,680 cacao trees, at 750 grams cacao each, equals 
8,760 kilos, at48cents_- 4,204.80 

Expense account: 

Fixed interest charges as above $350. 00 

Taxes as above 60.00 

Cultivating, etc., as above 88.00 

Fertilizing, at $10 per hectare 160.00 

Harvest, etc., of 8,760 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per kilo- 876. 00 

Contingent - 170.80 

1, 704. 80 

Credit balance 2,500.00 

24 farmers' bulletin. 

Eighth year. 
Income account: 

From 11,680 cacao trees, at 1 kilo cacao each, equals 

11,680 kilos, at 48 cents $5,606.40 

Expense account: 

Fixed interest charges as above $350.00 

Taxes as above -- 

Cultivating, etc., as above 

Fertilizing, at $12.50 per hectare 

Harvest, etc., 11,680 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per kilo. 


2, 106. 40 



200. 00 

1, 168. 00 

240. 40 

Credit balance 3,500.00 

Ninth year. 
Income account: 

From 11,680 trees, at 2 ''catties" or 1.25 kilos cacao 

each, equals 14,600 kilos, at 48 cents 7,008.00 

Expense account': 

Fixed interest charges as above $350. 00 

Taxes at IJ per cent on a one-third valuation of $500 

per hectare 120.00 

Cultivation and pruning as above 88.00 

Fertilizing, at $15 per hectare 240. 00 

Harvesting, etc., of 14,600 kilos of cacao, at 10 cents per 

kilo 1,460.00 

Contingent i 250.00 

. 2,508.00 

Credit balance 4,500.00 

In the tenth year there should be no increase in taxes or fertilizers, and 
a slight increase in yield, sufficient to bring the net profits of the estate to 
the approximate amount of $5,000. This would amount to a dividend of 
rather more than $312 per hectare, or its equivalent of about $126 per 

These tables further show original capitalization cost of nearly $90 per 
acre, and from the ninth year annual operating expenses of rather more 
than $60 per acre. 

It should be stated, however, that the operating expenses are based upon 
.a systematic and scientific management of the estate ; while the returns or 
income are based upon revenue from trees that are at the disadvantage of 
being without culture of any kind, and, while I am of the opinion that the 
original cost per acre of the plantation, nor its current operating expenses 
may be much reduced below the figures given, I feel that there is a reason- 
able certainty that the crop product may be materially increased beyond 
the limit of two "catties." 

In Camerouns, Dr. Preuss, a close and well-trained observer, gives the\ 
mean annual yield of trees of full-bearing age at 4.4 pounds. 


Mr. Rousselot places the yield on the French Congo at the same figure 
In the Caroline Islands it reaches 5 pounds and in Surinam, according 
to M. Nichols, the average at maturity is 6| pounds. In Mindanao, I 
have been told, but do not vouch for the report, of more than ten "catties" 
taken in one year from a single tree; and, as there are well-authenticated 
instances of record, of single trees having yielded as much as 30 pounds^ 
I am not prepared to altogether discredit the Mindanao story. 

The difference, however, between good returns and enormous profits 
arising from cacao growing in the Philippines will be determined by the 
amount of knowledge, experience, and energy that the planter is capable 
of bringing to bear upon the culture in question. 


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